The Birthing Center Birth of Eko

June 1, 2022

I arrived at the birthing center at about 2:30PM. Kelli was in early labor, meeting each wave with calming, deep breaths, and smiling between waves. Leera was right by her side, along with her mother. There was rap music playing and the lights were dimmed low. 

*disclaimer: the following birth photos and video include footage of baby crowning and mother laboring without clothing. I have been given permission by the mother to share the photos and video in this post.

Leera was the perfect birth partner, never complaining, always positive, always supportive, even when the tub faucet broke and the birthing center was flooded with water and we needed to move across the street to The Nest - another building owned by Babymoon mostly used for birthing classes. Birth is always full of surprises!

As night began to settle in, Kelli agreed to receiving fluids to help with her surges that had become less consistent. The fluids helped and Kelli was able to get some rest.

After a walk or two around the block, and some more resting on the bed, the birthing center was cleaned up, the pipes corrected, and we were taken back to the original room where we had begun. Over the next several hours, Kelli would transition from shower, to bathtub, to bed, Leera always by her side.

After spending some time in the bathtub, the midwives brought Kelli the birthing stool and she began pushing. Kelli's mother counted as Kelli breathed deeply and pushed with her surges. She made some progress on the birthing stool, but decided to try pushing on the bed.

It had been a very long night, and Kelli was beginning to feel very tired and a little disheartened. Her mother asked the midwives to check her to see how progressed she was. Kelli affirmed that this was what she wanted and had decided that if she was progressed enough, she would stay. Otherwise, she would want to transfer to the hospital for pain-relieving medication. She was at an 8, and decided to stay.

Kelli continued to amaze us with her endurance, and after nearly 24 hours of labor, baby Eko arrived at 10:43AM.

I am always amazed at how quickly emotions turn from exhaustion to elation. It's like all of the efforts of the last day evaporated. It didn't matter that she was tired or that she had spent the last day surrendering to her birth as her body performed its designed purpose. All that mattered was that her baby was finally here in her arms, and the two of them were in Leera's arms.

Leera had tears in his eyes. Liquid pride. He had stood as a sentinel, the protector of Kelli as she delivered their son, and he would always hold that position.

As I packed up my things to leave, I hugged the family and thanked them for allowing me to be a part of their birth. It's such an honor to be invited into these intimate moments.


Susan is a doula, birth photographer, and videographer serving Mesa, Arizona and surrounding cities in the East Valley including Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Queen Creek, Scottsdale, and Tempe. Considering a birth documenter for your birth? Visit and leave an inquiry!

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